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August 22, 2017 (Cleveland)

Hospitals Team Up to Fight Northeast Ohio Opioid Epidemic

The Northeast Ohio Hospital Opioid Consortium, housed at The Center for Health Affairs, will be responsible for coordinating hospital activities aimed at stemming the Northeast Ohio opioid epidemic. This is the first such initiative in the nation and represents an opportunity to make a measurable difference in mitigating the tragic epidemic taking the lives of so many Northeast Ohioans.

“The enormity of the opioid epidemic in Northeast Ohio calls for a coordinated community response. Bringing the combined resources of our region’s extraordinary health systems to bear on this crisis is the right thing to do. We’re unified in our commitment to stem the tide of addictions, save lives and create a healthier Cleveland,” said Thomas F. Zenty III, chief executive officer, University Hospitals.

The Northeast Ohio Hospital Opioid Consortium

The Opioid Consortium is a partnership of The Center for Health Affairs, Cleveland Clinic, Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, MetroHealth, St. Vincent Charity Medical Center and University Hospitals and is the result of years of work by community leaders and hospitals to reduce the widespread effect of the Northeast Ohio opioid epidemic. Thanks to efforts led by the Cuyahoga County Opiate Task Force and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio, hospital CEOs from the region agreed in late 2016 to fund a full-time position to lead a hospital-specific response to the crisis. This decision was born out of years of discussions that lead to the production of the Heroin and Opioid Action Plan, which included recommendations around a variety of reforms, including:

  • Improved prescribing practices
  • Increased use of medication-assisted treatment
  • Expanded use of Naloxone

“Having a director in this position will allow Cleveland hospitals to leverage our collective expertise and resources to educate and engage providers with best practice prescribing practices and to develop vital treatment services to help individuals recover from and navigate through addiction,” said Akram Boutros, MD, FACHE, president and chief executive officer, MetroHealth.

The Center for Health Affairs and its member hospitals are enthusiastic about the work of the Northeast Ohio Hospital Opioid Consortium. This swift response from the hospitals in greater Cleveland demonstrates the level of commitment to addressing this tragic epidemic.

“At the Cleveland Clinic, we see firsthand the devastating toll opioids take on our patients and our community. As a region, we’re seeing the number of fatalities continue to rise as we try to fight an epidemic that takes 150 American lives each day. The responsibility to ease this suffering falls on all of us in the Northeast Ohio community and Cleveland Clinic is proud to be a part of this important work,” said Toby Cosgrove, MD, president and CEO of Cleveland Clinic.

For more information on the Northeast Ohio Hospital Opioid Consortium, contact us.


About The Center for Health Affairs
With a rich history as the Northeast Ohio hospital association, dating back to 1916, The Center for Health Affairs serves as the collective voice of hospitals and the source for Northeast Ohio hospital and healthcare information. As the leading advocate for Northeast Ohio hospitals, The Center aims to enhance the effectiveness of the healthcare community and the health of the communities it serves by providing expertise, resources and solutions to address the challenges faced by the region’s healthcare providers. The Center’s efforts focus on areas that benefit member hospitals from a regional approach, including healthcare workforce; emergency preparedness; public policy and advocacy; finance and reimbursement; and community initiatives. And because of its business affiliation with CHAMPS Healthcare, The Center has the resources to provide a broad level of professional services to its members. The Center, located in downtown Cleveland, is proud to advocate on behalf of more than 35 acute-care hospitals located in six counties. For more, visit neohospitals.org. The Center for Health Affairs is honored to be named as one of The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Top Workplaces in 2014 and 2015, as well as to ERC’s NorthCoast99 List in 2003, 2004, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016.